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What does public intoxication entail?

The average person in Kentucky might be most familiar with alcohol related crimes in terms of drunk driving. However, it is also possible to be arrested on an alcohol related charge without ever getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. Public intoxication is a misdemeanor offense for which someone can face serious criminal consequences. 

The purpose of public intoxication laws 

Public intoxication laws are intended to prevent people who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs from disturbing people in public spaces. Even if someone is not disturbing others, public intoxication laws still apply. This is because public intoxication laws also protect intoxicated individuals from themselves, and apply when it appears as if someone might be unable to stop from hurting themselves. 

The elements of a public intoxication charge 

Bringing public intoxication charges is typically about more than just demonstrating that someone was under the influence of alcohol at the time of arrest. For example, the prosecution might have to show that a defendant was both intoxicated and swearing at others at the same time. In general, the three elements of a public intoxication charge should show that a defendant: 

  • Was intoxicated 
  • Was in a public place 
  • Caused a disturbance 

Defending one’s self against a public intoxication charge will look different for everybody. In some situations it is most appropriate to argue that someone was not intoxicated, while in others it might be better to argue that where the arrest took place was not in public. Since no two defendants in Kentucky are alike, it may be worthwhile to speak with a knowledgeable attorney about one’s options.